This month’s staff Q&A is with Redd Arrow, the rather brilliant graphic designer in our Auckland office.
Redd kindly took some time out of his crazy schedule to have a chat to us about what working for Castleford is like, who his favourite Batman is and what mistakes brands commonly make when it comes to graphic design.
What do you like most about working at Castleford?
I love being constantly surrounded with different minds with different perspectives. People’s viewpoints always inspire me to think differently about things that I’m either working on or when I’m curious about the business.
I can talk to a Content Strategist about potential marketing campaigns and I can also ask around Primary Sales about current market trends and what the prospects demand these days. There’s always an opportunity to learn more and develop a greater understanding from these friendly conversations.
What were you doing before you joined us?
I worked in an after school day care! I looked after around 40-100 kids and made sure that they had someone to hang out with while they’re wait for their parents to finish up at work. It was great because I got to meet with a lot of tiny personalities and most of them were creative in a lot of ways so we all had something in common.
If you weren’t doing graphic design for a living, what would you be doing instead?
I used to be in a lot of choirs and productions when I was a kid so I would probably be working in the entertainment industry as a performer of some sort, either an actor or singer. I always liked performing and stepping into a role that isn’t anywhere near my own personality. I still see myself creating content but it would be in a different medium, may it be on film or a musical performance.
What would be your dream account to work on?
I would love to work with a film studio or a recording company with their marketing. With the rapid growth of the digital space and social media now considered a viable platform for quality content, more companies are utilizing it to promote different movies and artists. The possibilities of coming up with creative ways for marketing campaigns are endless.
What’s the most embarrassing track on your iPod?
It’s not quite a song but I found a recording of me 5 years ago trying to read out my cover letter for a university application just to see if it sounded good. Haha!! It was a stressful time.
What can we usually find on your desk?
I keep a lot of superhero bobbleheads. I’ve always liked and based my thinking around superheroes. They’re a great example that in a midst of any tragedy, anyone can fight through their problems and be a badass.
You have quite a distinctive sense of style, tell us about your ‘personal brand’.
I’ve been building my personal brand since I was 11 and it was mainly focusing on self-improvement, being brave with my craft and developing a sense of individuality and identity. I was given a nickname “Redd” by my best friend because of how often I wore red. Over time, I ran with that nickname and I started to have a better understanding of what a brand would be like and how visuals can help convey any idea.
I wanted to apply confidence and bravery to everything that I do. But instead of applying it on a logo that I have, I started applying it on my daily style and everything that I am (having to stick to just wearing black, red and white–which is silly but is actually very time-efficient.) It’s inspired by how brands stick to their brand colours to create consistency with their identity. I go through different style approaches as time goes by but in the end, the colours that I wear and everything that I stand for is still unified and distinct.
What’s your ‘go-to’ karaoke song?
I haven’t done karaoke for a while, but I typically light up a cheap lighter and swing to whoever is singing. If the person is singing “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” I’ll raise two lighters.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I love to help out the clients materialize their ideas. Graphic design is a tricky thing to grasp. Design has to be visually appealing and also with the amount of data our infographics and other products it carry, they have to be informative and easy to understand as well. So, by collaborating with the clients, our products that we offer will help them deliver their message in a more compelling and exciting way. Whether it is an infographic about young property buyer’s trends or a Canadian destination guide e-book.
What have you done that you’ve been most proud of since you joined the company?
I’ve always had the fear of talking and conversing with people. I was so used to being on my own and keeping to myself but having the opportunity to talk to different people helped me get over that fear and over time created freedom to be more expressive with my ideas. To me, that’s an achievement.
What’s the worst mistake brands make when using design as part of their content marketing?
When their brand is not consistent. People normally gravitate towards a brand that has a sense of consistency and unity. It helps them identify and separate brands from the pack and as a result, makes the brand more memorable. The brand should be timeless and customer-focused. If a brand changes too much just for the sake of being on trend, it can be confusing and the true company message would get Lost In Translation* (movie reference). Take superheroes for example: they have to have a consistent and strong branding for them to be successful in the crime fighting industry!!
What’s your favourite weekend activity?
I watch a lot of movies with my family and we discuss and deconstruct everything about it afterwards. I was raised in a household that consumes entertainment content like crazy and we openly discuss things that make it work and what doesn’t. We even have very intense late-night debates on which Batman was the best one. My mom says Keaton, my brothers say Bale, I think Affleck did a good job. This house is truly divided.